31 July 2013

Sci Fi Shindig Menu & More

John Criton. I would marry him if he
weren't taken. Or, well, if I weren't too.
Our weavings in the cosmic web are not self-contained. Rather, they are part of the design of our collective humanity.
~ Lisa Hunt

I have good news and bad news. The good news is that Saturday evening’s Science Fiction Shindig was a colossal success. The bad news is that I neglected to take any pictures, so I have nothing to show for it except some leftover jello and a few burnt out glowsticks. But let’s focus on the positives, shall we?

I decorated my apartment with pink and green glowsticks and necklaces, tying some to ribbons and draping the ribbons across doorways. The table was spread with a psychedelic plastic tablecloth in rainbow colors to give it a sort of nebulous feel, and I used a shiny tire rim that kinda looked like a spaceship as a centerpiece. We had Star Wars paper plates and Avengers napkins, and I even made menus framed by aluminum foil and hot pink duct tape to both explain the culinary options and their science fictiony significance.

Concerning food we paid homage to many different shows, including Star Trek, Star Wars, Farscape, Stargate SG1, Battlestar Galactica and Firefly. I served gagh (Star Trek), which while the Klingons would cry foul for my lack of worms, turned out rather tasty, if a bit spicier than intended. I sautéed glass noodles in soy sauce, hoison, siracha and Chinese 5 spice powder. The end result was a translucent reddish-brown mass of writhing, worm-like noodles. Luckily my guests were neither grossed out by the wormy resemblance nor opposed to the fire from the siracha, so the gagh went quickly and I had very little left.

As Farscape is my official favorite show of all time (I’ve actually seen that more times through than Buffy, believe it or not), I simply had to represent it. Thus, I made food cubes. Well, I called them food cubes—as did my guests—but they were more or less sugar cookies dyed green and coated in green sprinkles. I molded the cookie dough into squares before I baked them, but apparently cookies expand (hey, I’m not a baker!) so I ended up with a bunch of geometrically surprising shapes as the food cube cookies pushed into one another. I had zero food cubes left over. ZERO. And I had made quite a few. Just goes to show that you can’t judge based on appearances, because the cookies were neither food-cube nor cookie-shaped (nor cookie-colored) but the flavor was all there! Now I suppose I should start making cupcakes to use all my left over food coloring.

To pay my respects to Stargate, I made three flavors of jello and served them in a three-part acrylic serving dish (which I’m pretty sure it was designed to serve dips/condiments, but hey, jello in square molds works). They always seem to be serving jello in the DFAC at Stargate HQ, so it seemed appropriate. Also there’s nothing more science fictiony than a cousine that not only comes in ridiculous colors, but also jiggles. I went with bright green (s’lime), blood red (cherry) and neon yellow (pineapple).

Out of necessity for a main dish, and because no one in the crowd was vegetarian, I grilled some steaks and called them “cloned cattle” (Battlestar Galactica; they clone their meat-producing animals for sustainability). I just prepped it with a dry rub of finely ground coffee, Cajun seasoning, chili powder, and garlic. It may sound weird but coffee-based rubs go really well with a thicker cut, especially if you’re forced to, you know, George Foreman it because an outdoor grill is a fire hazard in your urban environment. Anywho, no complaints on the steak and several asked me for the dry rub recipe, so I’ll call that a win.

As most of us were avid Firefly fans—and they eat a lot of Asian food in Firefly—two of my guests (they’re married) brought home made spring rolls, which were absolutely delicious! So yay for that :] I might have eaten more of those than I did my own food cube cookies, and I was picking the cookies off as they cooled. I mean, I had to eat the broken ones, naturally.

Finally, we had beverages. As the entire crowd were responsible adults of drinking age, we had two alcoholic options and one virgin (I called it “galactic lemonade,” but it was just your standard pink lemonade served in a really cool container). From Star Wars I made some blue milk, which for me amounted to vanilla vodka, blue curacao and, of course, milk. I used skim milk because that’s all I buy but also threw in a little half & half for extra smoothness, and the end result was a sweet, creamy, sky-blue concoction of deliciousness. I served it chilled in a giant blue milk bottle, so the aesthetic result was both old-fashioned and futuristic, further adding to the Star Wars feel. The other adult beverage was two bottles of sangria that one of my guests brought (he was wearing a blue Star Trek shirt—oh yes, drool away!) and once we cracked out the Sangria it didn’t last long.

So that comprises my menu for the Sci-Fi Shindig. Now that you are all salivating in hunger—or grossed out, as the case may be—we can move onto a rundown of the entertainment for the night. I cracked out my ginormous collection of science fiction DVDs, to include all my shows and movies (some big-theater productions, some B-grade ones) and let my guests pick. We ended up first watching Serenity, which even though about half of us had seen it before we all still got choked up at the end, and then The Fifth Element. All in all, I am super proud of myself for pulling off such a gathering of nerds with food and movies and drinks and decorations despite my incredibly cramped schedule. Last week was particularly hectic; we have a lot of big projects going on at work right now. Craziness.

And Kitty Hera! She was so well behaved. She played with her toys and sat on each guest’s lap in turn begging for attention, and then when the crowd got a little too much for her she just curled up inside her pet-carrier (I leave it open for her so she gets used to it) and took a nap. She did not scratch or bite anyone, although occasionally she did play-pounce on their ankles as they sat on the couch and she darted out from underneath it. She likes to do that. Everyone seemed to be as taken with her as I was, and miraculously at work—most of these scif-fi nerd friends are my coworkers—no one makes fun of me for being a crazy cat lady anymore. Little Kitty Hera won over their hearts for me.

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